National Food and Nutrition Security

The Government of the Republic of Namibia launched the "Food and Nutrition Decade" in 1992 with a primary objective of addressing the incidence of chronic hunger and malnutrition in the country.

During September 1994, Cabinet approved a National Food Security and Nutrition Council (NFSNC) with a mandate to address problems of food insecurity and malnutrition in the country and was chaired by the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Furthermore, a Food and Nutrition Secretariat was created within the then, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development to support the Technical Committee and the Council. The Council was chaired by the Ministry of Health and Social Services, whereas the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development chaired the Technical Committee.

The Food Security and Nutrition Council formed in 1995 became dormant due to institutional re-arrangements and led the coordination mechanism to be affected.

In 2010, the Namibia Cabinet Decision (No. 17th/23.11.10/001) established the National Alliance for Improved Nutrition (NAFIN), a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder platform aimed at enhancing nutrition status of Namibians especially children below the age of five years. The goal of NAFIN was to coordinate activities of government, private sector, NGOs, UN agencies and academia in the field of nutrition and promote accountability on nutrition programmes in the country.

NAFIN is chaired by former Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Hon. Nahas Angula with Synergos a None-Governmental Body as a Secretariat. NAFIN is an independent trust with its own governing council with no sub-national structure.

To address inadequate coordination mechanism and create policy synergies which could effectively link the long term perspective to short term planning on Food and Nutrition Security, the Ministry of Health and Social Services commenced with the revision of the 1995 Policy with the aim to address the evolution of Food and Nutrition Security and changes  in global environment.

In 2017, Cabinet was sensitized on the none-operationalization of Food and Nutrition Security Council and what necessitated policy revision and the challenge of having a Secretariat run by NGO.

Cabinet took note of the challenges and lack of coordination of National Food Security and Nutrition activities in the country and through Cabinet Decision No: 1st/14.02.17/004, Cabinet resolved that Office of the Prime Minister:

  1. Appoint an interagency Steering Committee with the task to finalise the National Food Security and Nutrition Policy
  2. Revive the National Food Security and Nutrition Council to be chaired by the Office of the Prime Minister.
  3. Endorse the National Alliance for Improved Nutrition (NAFIN) to serve as a technical partner to advocate for nutrition specific interventions.

Pursuant to this Cabinet Decision, the process of reviving the National Food Security and Nutrition Council resulted into the development of a Coordination mechanism.

Namibia needed to review the Policy in line with scientific evidence and global recommendations for the Food and Nutrition Security Agenda, and to address inadequate coordination mechanism in order to:

  1. attain sufficient nutrient requirements for people of Namibia throughout their life cycle for optimal health and productivity.
  2. increase the quality and quantity of food available, accessible, safe the populace at all times
  3. promote nutrition sensitive measures to potentially improve the food and nutrition security for people of Namibia.
  4. ensure protection of vulnerable people in Namibia through creation and strengthening of supportive systems including social assistance linked to long-term development
  5. strengthen the enabling environment for effective actions, co-ordination, integration, and implementation of food and nutrition security programmes.

During the 2nd to 4th October 2018, the Office of the Prime Minister in coordination with UNICEF held a validation workshop. The Validation workshop served as an ap opportunity for stakeholders to verify the content of the documents. This was a crucial part of the process for developing and finalizing the Food and Nutrition Security Policy, Food and Nutrition Security Coordination structure and the tracking tools for the Coordination structure. This process has also necessitated the revision of the Implementation Action Plan of Food and Nutrition Security Policy and the need to align the Zero Hunger Road Map.

Technical inputs were obtained from various institutions including the World Food Programme, UNICEF,Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations World Health Organization and National Alliance for Improved Nutrition (NAFIN) as well as the non-governmental organizations, Civil Society Organizations and the Private Sectors.

Way Forward

All these documents are being finalised for submission to Cabinet.